The Super Bowl 2017 Advertising Round-Up

20 Winners, and Losers, of Super Bowl 51

By now, you know the results of Super Bowl 51, with the Patriots mounting the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history to beat the Falcons.

But as with all Super Bowls, it wasn't just a day about amazing football -- it was also about ads. There were a lot of ads for TV shows and movies, which will not be mentioned here. There were also a bunch of ads released way ahead of time, ten of which we reviewed here

What remains are twenty of the ads that stuck out for being great, awful, or just missing the mark. So let's take a look at the winners, the losers, and the so-so performers of the Super Bowl 2017 advertising game. 

1
Kia - Eco Warrior

Kia
Kia. YouTube

Melissa McCarthy had quite the weekend. First her incredible appearance on SNL as White House press secretary Sean Spicer, and then this masterful performance as an eco-warrior coming up aginst some Wile E. Coyote disasters. It was a perfect Super Bowl spot. Funny. Epic. Great effects. Memorable. And, most importantly, it tied to the product and made its mark. This was the best ad of the Super Bowl. Rating: BIG WINNER

2
Mercedes Benz - Easy Driver

Easy Driver
Easy Driver. YouTube

When The Coen Brothers are brought in to direct a commercial, you know the ad agency involved was being a touch lazy, to say the least. "Hey, I've got a great idea...let's get a famous director to do this." Having said that, the Coens are bankable. The spot has great pace and cinematography. But at the end of the day, it's basically Peter Fonda selling out and driving a high-end car. Rating: Loser More

3
Budweiser - Born the Hard Way

Budweiser
Budweiser. YouTube

President Trump has been the inspiration behind a lot of Internet chatter these days, and his "Muslim ban" is no exception. Budweiser stepped up to the plate and decided to take him on, touting the proud immigrant heritage of the company. Of course, it fails to mention the massive controversy surrounding the origin of the name, and the lawsuits with Budweiser Budvar. Having said that, most people don't know or care, and this will likely get talked about, good or bad. Rating: Winner More

4
Wendy's - Cold Storage

Wendy's
Wendy's. YouTube

Who doesn't like a classic 80's track and a sweeping of establishing shot? Well, in this case, a lot of people don't like it. It's poking fun at burger chains that freeze their meat. Which ones? They can't say. The ad directs you to check out the Othr-Guyz website. It's a fun site, but it focuses so much on the straw man they have set up that the actual Wendy's product gets lost in the mix. It's all an awful lot of work to get to the end result...that Wendy's is fresh, not frozen. And as Othr-Guyz doesn't actually exist, it's a pointless comparison. Rating: Loser More

5
Honda CR-V - Yearbooks

Honda CR-V
Honda CR-V. YouTube

There's a lot to like about this ad. The idea of famous people coming back to speak to you through their old yearbook photos is fun and well-executed. However, what they are advertising doesn't quite marry up to the message. It's not a college course. It's not a trip into space. It's a mid-range car.

Really? Dreams? Rating: So-so More

6
Audi - Daughter

Audi
Audi. YouTube

With the hashtag #DriveProgress and a story about ​unequal pay for women, the marketing team here clearly thought they were onto a literal winner. However, there's always a catch to this kind of campaign - make sure you can back it up. When the Twitter account of Audi started to get bombarded with messages accusing them of underpaying women, it became clear this was an own-goal. Rating: Loser More

7
Febreze - Halftime #BathroomBReak

Febreze
Febreze. YouTube

Finally, an ad worthy of a Super Bowl slot. This one has it all. Visual gags. A great script. Wonderful direction. And above all, a message directly tied to the actual product. Imagine the stink when everyone goes to the bathroom at halftime. Exactly! Febreze sorts that out, and does it in a memorable way. Excellent stuff. Rating - Winner More

8
Bud Light - Ghost Spuds

Bud Light
Bud Light. YouTube

If you haven't seen "It's a Wonderful Life," you may not get the blatant homage (or artistic parallel) shown here. A guy is drinking alone. The ghost of Spuds comes to see him, and shows him what life is like without him. Then comes the funny twist at the end. Or actually, no twist. That's it. Nothing special. The gags fall flat. It's all a lot of saccharin friendship messaging and not much else. Rating: Loser  More

9
Ford - Go Further

Ford
Ford. YouTube

The folks at Ford have been doing their homework. This ad has all the elements of a great Super Bowl spot: Humor, irony, situations we can all empathize with, and a direct tie to the actual product. No one likes being stuck, so Ford is developing new technologies to move you forward. OK, maybe it's a little bit of a stretch, but it works. And most importantly, it's memorable. Rating: Winner More

10
The Battle of Evony - Big Game

Evony
Evony. YouTube

There's a saying in advertising. A great ad will only expose a poor product more quickly. That may well be the case with Evony. It's a glorious piece of filmmaking, it has a great cast (including Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Aaron Eckhart) and a beautiful score. But the ad itself looks way better than the game. Maybe it's a great piece of software, but it looks dull. Rating: So-so More

11
Avocados From Mexico - #AvoSecrets

AvoSecrets
AvoSecrets. YouTube

Sigh. Is anyone really going to go out and buy Avocados after this ad? A secret society, not wanting to tell people out there about the advantages of Avocados, because...well, who knows? And then, of course, they throw in the teaser aspect with Jon Lovitz, which fails miserably. Awful. Rating: Loser More

12
Google - Google Home

Google
Google. YouTube

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this ad was the effect it had on Google Home devices all over the country. They went berserk, with people tweeting that the device had a meltdown. The ad itself was harmless, it got the point across with a lot of touchy-feely goodness, but it is easily forgettable. Rating: So-so More

13
Go Daddy - The Internet Wants You

Go Daddy
Go Daddy. YouTube

Let's be honest. Go Daddy have done some really awful, exploitational ads in the past. This idea, it's a step up. A big one. Does that mean this is a great ad? Well, no. But it's not terrible. The idea that the Internet is alive is nothing new. Dave Chappelle once imagined it like a shopping mall. Here, it's a guy. It ties well to the product. It's memorable. Overall, a fair effort. Rating: Winner More

14
Buick - Big Game Ad

Buick
Buick. YouTube

If that's a Buick, then my ... [insert funny premise here]. That's the Buick ad. In the first instance, the guy's son becomes Cam Newton. In the second, it's supermodel Miranda Kerr. The strategy is clearly showing here. The Buick is different, it looks way cooler than a Buick, make it blatant. To be fair, the spot is well done, but will it make people run out and test drive a Buick? Maybe. Rating: So-so More

15
KFC - Georgia Gold

KFC
KFC. YouTube

KFC has a new product out, called Georgia Gold. Looks tasty enough. But the ad doesn't really do it justice. It's filled with weak gags and doesn't really let you know much about this new dish. Maybe they're banking on people remembering the Colonel spray-painted gold, but it's not going to convince many people. Rating: Loser More

16
84 Lumber - The Journey Begins / The Entire Journey

84 Lumber
84 Lumber. YouTube

Some ads this year definitely entered the political arena, and this was by far the most polarizing. The entire spot, linked here, is almost six minutes long. It's shot beautifully, and tells the story of a mother and daughter's immigration journey. Well thought out, and memorable, it barely tied to the actual product, but the sentiment was excellent. Rating: Winner More

17
Buffalo Wild Wings - The Conpsiracy

Wild Wings
Buffalo Wild Wings. YouTube

Brett Favre can actually act. This was the big takeaway many people got from this funny spot for Buffalo Wild Wings. It centers around the conspiracy theories of interceptions throughout his career. At the center of it all...Buffalo Wild Wings? Well, it's definitely an odd one, but the spot is memorable and well done. Rating: So-so More

18
Hyundai - A Better Super Bowl

Hyundai
Hyundai. YouTube

It's not easy to link a Hyundai to the Super Bowl, but this ad gave it a shot. And, it worked. Finally, a company put more money behind something meaningful, instead of special effects, glitz, and silly gags. The result: Not a dry eye in the house. Well done, Hyundai, for being patriotic and making a lot of people happy. Rating: Winner More

19
Alfa Romeo - Riding Dragons

Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo. YouTube

Another car spot, but entirely different than the one above. Alfa Romeo captured that feeling we all had as kids. Wanting to explore, go fast, and "ride dragons." After seeing this, the general discussion in the room was "Wow, I really want that car." And that is the best compliment an ad can get. Rating: Winner More

20
Yellow Tail - Kangaroo

Yellow Tail
Yellow Tail. YouTube

If a kangaroo is at a party, it's a good party. If it's in a Super Bowl ad, not so much. This was probably the lamest ad of the whole night. It wasn't funny, it wasn't particularly well-executed, and it cheapened the Yellow Tail brand. Plus, the inclusion of a scantily-clad woman seemed forced.

Awful, and hopefully, the last we'll see of this brand for a while. Rating: Loser More